Karachi is the former capital of Pakistan, ceding the title to Islamabad only in the latter part of the 20th century after authorities decided that a more centrally-located capital would be preferable. Even with that shift, though, Karachi has lost none of its importance to the nation, holding the biggest population in the country as well as a significant part of its economic foundations. Some of the most important industries of Pakistan are based here, and rightly so. Two of the biggest ports on the Arabian Sea are found in this city, after all: Karachi Port, through which more than half the cargo for Pakistan goes, and Port Bin Qasim, which handles a quarter of the total cargo in the country. Put together, the two see over 90% of the cargo for Pakistan.
There is more than economics and trade going on in this city, though. For instance, art is given due attention in the city. This is where the internationally-recognised KaraFilm Festival is held each year in December and where the National Museum of Pakistan is located, among other exhibition facilities. The Quaid-e-Azam Mausoleum and Museum is here, as is the National Academy of Performance Arts. Dozens of peoples have gone through Karachi throughout the ages, after all, so there is a fine and distinctive blend of culture here. Even now, its location renders it a place of great import for transport and interaction throughout the region, as indeed may be guessed by the activity in its two ports. Travellers add to this nowadays, naturally, and the city’s Jinnah International Airport is among the most important of the country’s airports.
People who love sports have a lot to look forward to as well, from the world-class National Stadium for cricket to the Peoples Football Stadium. Golf is strongly represented-it would have to be, given how many teeing businessmen are in the area-with numerous clubs and squash is a popular pastime too, with the Karachi Squash Complex being a special highlight of the facilities for this particular game. Bazaars abound like the Karachi Sunday Textile Market, where the most fabulous bolts of woven cloth may be purchased. More modern shopping activities may be done as well in such establishments as the Port Grand Food and Entertainment Complex.
If you want to indulge in a bit of beachside amusement, the area called the Bagh-e-Ibn-e-Qasim is strongly recommended. There are piers, an amusement park, a tomb, and even a subterranean temple (Hindu, not Muslim). A more recent and rather-costly-looking addition to the city’s parks has been the Benazir Bhutto Park, which makes for a lovely and laid-back location for a visit too. If you prefer to go all the way down to the beach, it may be wise to avoid the formerly popular Clifton, since oil spills have changed its formerly appealing character. Less popular but still excellent beaches may be found at the very coast, including Sandspit, Hawke’s Bay (sometimes spelled as Hawk’s Bay), Tushan, and the absolutely gorgeous French Beach. Sandspit Beach is also adjacent the other parts of the WWF Wetland Centre, where you may see some mangrove forests and a lake.
Obviously, Karachi offers a great deal to the person travelling in Pakistan. At once modern and steeped in history, it is a place where Pakistan at its liveliest comes to light, where people may visit beaches while engaging in business, and where one may feel for oneself the pulse of development beating under a historic land’s skin.